Michael Ramirez intended to become a doctor, as did his two brothers and two sisters. Instead, he became an editorial cartoonist. Think of him this way: Instead of slicing and dicing you, he slices and dices the public figures and issues of our time, for you.

Michael does it well. In his mid-forties, he's already won a Pulitzer Prize and a Mencken Award and been president of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists. Michael does it controversially. That rare conservative cartoonist, he refers to himself as an "equal opportunity offender." No one was more surprised than Michael was when he was hired by the liberal Los Angeles Times in 1997. Fewer were surprised when the paper fired him in November 2005, in what appears to be a major editorial realignment toward the mushy (if safer) middle. The Times' loss is cfif's gain, even though the two events are unrelated.

Michael's father was first generation Mexican-American; his mother Japanese. He is a 1984 graduate in fine arts of the University of California Irvine.